Issue 01/2003   

Sweden Strikes Gold in 2002

Sweden was the Cinderella story of the 2002 IIHF In-Line Hockey World Cham-pionship in Germany. A team that had previously finished no higher than fifth place and was in only its third year in the top group, found itself in the hunt for a medal, and when the fairy tale came to an end, it was Sweden that lived ‘happily ever after’ with a gold medal around their necks.  

More improbable than Sweden’s gold medal finish was the fact that the team’s top scorer wasn’t even ranked in the top 10.  Niclas Norlander had 11 points for Sweden and was ranked 12th in tourna-ment scoring.  Teammate Bjorn Ostlund had 10 points, including seven goals and was ranked 13th. The story of the tourna-ment for Sweden was the  spectacular 

goaltending of Henrik Lundqvist, who had an impressive .901 saves percen-tage and 3.58 goals against average.

Sweden started the tournament with a tough test against Slovakia, which finished in fourth place at the previous In-Line Hockey World Championship, Sweden finished in fifth place the previous year.  Both teams came out of the gates eager to start the World Championship, but it was Sweden which ultimately dominated the game with a 7-3 win.

Seven proved to be the lucky number again for the Swedes in their second game, a contest against Slovenia.  Lundqvist was impressive in net, allowing only two goals, while the Sweden offense continued to roll, scoring seven goals in the team’s second win. Read more

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